Saturday morning cartoons

I used to love Saturday morning cartoons. I remember getting up and watching the Smurfs in my pj’s, back when The Monchhichis were the only Japanese-inpsired cartoon around (and none of us knew it at the time because it was produced by Hanna Barbera). The Flintstones, the Jetsens, Tom & Jerry (the real Tom & Jerry, not the new Tom & Jerry Tales I seem to have stumbled on this morning), and the Great Space Coaster were all weekday cartoons, but they were good too. There was a point in this somewhere, something about how Saturday morning cartoons these days all seem to be about saving the world from evil and having amazing special powers which just seems.. boring. *shrug*

Anyway, last time I mentioned I’d try to get pictures of the blue jeans handwarmers, so here you are:

(Pictures are clickable thumbnails; click them to load a larger version.)

It’s a little muted, but the flash washed it out so much it was no where near true. I’m holding two strands of the yarn together, which is making these a little stiffer than I think they’re intended to be, but I like them and I think the recipient will, too. Since taking this, I’ve finished all but the thumb on this one. I’m doing a modified version of Dashing (modified in that I made it shorter by leaving out one of the cable repeats in the cuff and two rows from the hand length), which should be perfect for the recipient.

And a bonus picture because I don’t think I posted it before:

This is some merino that I got from a fleece or spinning swap awhile back. The label is in a language I don’t read, but apparently merino is merino in that language, too. It’s really a joy to spin up and it’s been very fun to watch the color changes. I was a little worried about the brightness of the pink, but it’s much more muted in the singles and really works well with the blues and greens.

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Radio silence.

Hrm. Yup. Been awhile. Stuff’s been going on, including some knitting and spinning.

On the knitting, I finished the DNA scarf:

No, it’s not really that long, but I wasn’t sure just the two end pictures caught it all. Not that it matters given how hard it is to see anyway, but c’est la vie. *shrug* These pictures were taken while I blocked it on the back of my mom’s couch the night before giving it to the recipient.

Specs:
Pattern – DNA Scarf
Author – June Oshiro, known in blogland as Two Sheep
Yarn – KnitPicks Swish DK in Coal
Needles – KnitPicks Options US size 4 16-inch circular (though I also dallied for awhile with a second circular)
Points of Departure – This scarf was knit for a friend in partial exchange for some sewing she did for Jack. Therefore many of the choices about it (color, etc.) are hers, and at her request it is not a fisherman’s scarf as I understand that creature to be (e.g., with a section of ribbing across the neck) but instead it is “reversible”. To achieve the reversible-ness, this is really two scarfs knit in the round and joined at the edges. I’ve tried to come up with a better way to describe that, but I can’t really, so if you can’t figure out what I did, drop a comment and I’ll try to come up with something better (though likely more verbose).

I liked this scarf – and the double-thickness gave it some substantial heft, which the recipient also liked (and has no doubt come in handy this week with the -20 weather in Wisconsin) – but I’m not sure I’ll ever make another. Mostly because I’m not myself geeky in that way and most of the folks I typically make gifts for aren’t either. *shrug* I will attempt to get an action shot of it at some point with the recipient that shows the reversible nature better.

On the spinning, I finished spinning the cashgora I got with Cate & Sara in St. Louis (or was that Kansas City? I always mess those two up..):

The rose/mauve bits are really understated in the singles, but I like that every now and again they just appear. I’ll eventually ply the singles, once I figure out if I want to try to 3-ply it to maintain the color runs or just let them fall where they may. While I decide, I’m working on spinning up the little ball of Clun Forest that I dyed with cochineal with my friend Carol:

It’s really quite lovely to spin and I’m very pleased with how it’s turning out. I have no idea what to do with it – there’s not very much of it there – but I’m contemplating writing up the documentation for the dyeing and spinning and entering it into an A&S (Arts & Sciences) display at an upcoming SCA event. We’ll see if I get around to that, though.

I also did some more Kool Aid dyeing earlier this week, but I think that may have to wait for another day..

RSA*

Trekking XXL and Kaffe Fassett Regia sock yarns (As usual, all pictures are clickable thumbnails)
8 ounces of really soft and lovely merino roving
The same roving as above (the other picture is more color accurate) with the 2 pounds of Ashland Bay merino roving in Peacock that I got from Mary-Kay when she was moving a couple years ago. I’m thinking about possibly spinning some singles with each and plying them together, but I’m not decided yet.

Sorry all the pictures are a bit blurry, but the colors are pretty true so you get the idea.

Tomorrow I’ll pr’bly post an updated picture of the DNA scarf; it’s about 3.5 feet long now and I’m on the second to last skein of yarn I have for it, so it’s getting close!

* Recent Stash Acquisitions!

Project pondering..

Not that I need more projects right now, especially with the addition of a Dr. Who Scarf to my queue for my boy, but I was pondering what to do with the cashgora that I’ve been spinning

First skein, about half the total; all pictures are clickable thumbnails

A shot showing more of the color variations, especially the pinkish-purply bit

…and also pondering what to do with the cochineal-dyed handspun and roving we did a week and a half ago:

Clun Forest handspun is farthest left; SWS is middle and Paton’s Classic Merino is right

Front hangar

…and thinking that all my gloves and mittens have disappeared and I think I’m going to try to figure out a way to make something like Fetching out of the cashgora and handspun. I think the colors will blend well enough for it to work out, but I’m a little concerned that the cashgora will be thicker, especially since I might end up trying to learn to Navajo-ply it to maintain the color runs.. But then.. if that’s the case, I could also use the skein of Soy Wool Silk (center in the cochineal picture above), which might flow better for color, too. I think I’m thinking that the cashgora will be cuff-bits and the rest hand-bits, but we’ll have to see how much of the cashgora I end up with… I could also start with the darkest purple (Clun Forest handspun dyed in blue vitriol mordanted cochineal) and work through the cashgora and use the SWS or the rest of the Clun Forest roving (dyed in cream of tartar mordanted cochineal if memory serves) for the fingers.

*ponder*

(And while I’m pondering.. does anyone know an easy way to take all the Categories assigned to a WordPress post and make them Tags, either in addition or instead of Categories? Or should I just continue to use Categories and ignore the new Tags options?)

Brief eye candy

Just a quick post to show you some of the spinning I’ve been doing between holiday gift knitting and the like..

I’m not sure if it’s because of the fiber I’m spinning (Cashgora), or because I got used to the speed of the spin on the bottom whorl I’m using to spin the silk/camel hair, but my spindle felt like it was really slowing down. Or not really slowing down, but it didn’t spin as long as I wanted it to. So I wound off the first bit, which is likely just slightly more than half of the total amount, of the Cashgora this weekend. I started spinning the rest, and the spindle is still a bit slow or whatever, but it’s going well all the same.

“I’m just floating around over the ground, wondering where I’ll drip”

It’s been a bit soggy here in southeastern Minnesota this weekend:

(As usual, all photos are clickable thumbnails; click them to get a larger version.)

That’s our backyard and side yard as of about 9 a.m. this morning. At the far back corner, it’s about 4 inches deep. The water goes under the side fence out into the side yard. The apple tree is at the corner of what used to be a raspberry patch, which is on slightly higher ground and therefore not flooded. The garage and the car are also on similarly higher ground (and the tent is up off the floor).

This is a sort of impromptu rain gauge that I set out last night off the front porch. At that time, we had already gotten about 4 inches of rain according to the NWS, and about that much again by the time I took this picture. The Root River, which runs the length of the county about 10 miles north of us, is 3 feet above flood stage in Houston and not expected to recede fully until sometime Wednesday. According to the La Crosse Tribune:

County Road 16 between Hokah and Houston is closed due to mudslides. Highway 26 from Brownsville to the Iowa border is also closed. The Highway 76 bridge which crosses the Root River at Highway 16 is closed.

No word yet on the Highway 44 bridge across the Root River in Hokah, but if the bridge in Houston is closed, the Hwy 26 from Brownsville is closed, it’s a good bet that the bridge in Hokah will be as well.

Our basement is a bit flooded – it happens whenever we get a lot of heavy rain, so I knew to expect it – but sweeping the water toward the drain is working to keep the lake that keeps threatening to form at the bottom of the stairs at bay. Last night during the heaviest rain, I was going down about every half hour to sweep the water toward the drain and since I was up and down the stairs anyway, I decided to tend to some brewing. I bottled the apple wine/cider that I put up last fall – ended up with 10 22-ounce bottles out of two gallons of cider – and racked the Concord grape wine I started around the same time. The apple is extraordinarily sweet, so much so that it’s more like a cordial than a wine (and it’s technically not hard cider as it’s not carbonated – I just couldn’t bring myself to add *more* sugar to try to get it to carbonate!), but it will be tasty all the same this fall and winter warmed with maybe a dollop of rum and a splash of cream. The wine suffers the opposite problem and is so tart as to be near undrinkable. I added sugar at the last racking, and did so again last night. It’ll sit for awhile longer and then we’ll try it again. It tastes rather strongly of grape juice – which is a common occurrence with Concord wines – and may never be great, but I’d like it at least to be palatable.

All in all, though, it was a good weekend for my Ravelry invite to show up. *smile* I’m not entirely sure how much I’ll use Ravelry – it’s one of those things that I’m not quite sure I understand fully – but it has been fun to go through and post pictures of past projects and see who’s working on what. Like Facebook, I’m not sure yet of the standard for who I should “friend” – is this like adding a feed to my Bloglines list, or does it imply a somewhat more personal connection? – but if you feel so inclined, my username is verymelm.

Ravelry uses Flickr as the photo hosting service, which is well and good, and the interface is very easy, but I don’t think I’ll switch my main hosting over from Photobucket. I loaded the photos for this post into Flickr this morning, but couldn’t figure out how to get to the code that would let me embed them into a post. I could create individual posts for each photo, but couldn’t seem to get to the code that would let me drop several photos into a single post. *shrug* I did, however, update the photo for the Easy Lace Jacket in Ravelry since I completed the back last weekend and have about a third of the two front pieces completed now:

I decided to work both front pieces at the same time so that I could be sure to get the shaping matched. I might have misread the directions for the front at the seam edge, but if I did, I think I prefer how I choose to do it anyway. Decreasing over the lace pattern is tricky because there are paired decreases and increases and I wanted to maintain some integrity along the edge where the seam will run. The way I did it – knit the first/last 6 stitches at the seam edges – allows me to do all 5 decreases in stockinette and still have a selvedge stitch for the seam. Because the solid columns are 5 stitches wide, it doesn’t look like the column is wider, either.

I’ll also admit that I’m a bit surprised that there aren’t ways to track spinning projects in Ravelry (or if there is, I haven’t found them). There are certainly spinners on the site – and many of them do seem to post their spinning stash in addition to their yarn stash – but it doesn’t appear that you can create a “spinning” project to show progress pictures of how certain fleeces were blended and spun up. Maybe that’s something they’ll expand in the future; I hope so because I really enjoy seeing how people work with fleece to create custom rolags and rovings.

Speaking of spinning, my love brought me booty back from war:

8 ounces of Honey Tussah silk; it’s delightfully soft and absolutely gorgeous. It will match the silk and camel that I’ve been working on, and there should be quite enough of it to make something a bit larger than your typical shawl or scarf.

Look! A distraction!

Ooh! Looky at what the folks over at Catena Expressions have been up to! I’m so jealous! This is precisely what we want to do over our back patio. Isn’t it divine?

About all that I’ve been up to this week is this:

(Clickable thumbnail; click to make it bigger)

What with the stickiness that’s invaded the midwest this week, that’s about all I could manage to do, and even at that it was only because I could hold it all at arms length and not.have.it.touching.me. But I’m really, really loving spinning this up. I love watching the colors change and how they look on the spindle next to each other.